18
A Little Heresy

A N EXPERIENCED, TOUGH-MINDED, no-nonsense reporter from Chicago, Georgie Anne Geyer asked penetrating questions and demanded direct answers. In August 1966 she joined a group of foreign journalists accompanying the Maximum Leader on a trip through Camagüey. The opportunities to interview Fidel Castro had become rare. In the past he had found such occasions useful. But he had been burned too often, when his frankness and his sometimes irresponsible outbursts were used against him. And he had grown wary. Still, there were times when a reporter pierced his carefully erected barriers, as had Lee Lockwood and Richard Eder. Geyer was cut from the same cloth. And she had an added advantage. Castro, as always, liked to show off before attractive young women, to dazzle them with his store of knowledge and his sly witticisms. She was prepared to break down his defenses.

Why was there no freedom of the press in Cuba? she asked. He countered: There was freedom for everyone but counterrevolutionaries and bourgeois enemies of the regime. Would any American newspaper allow communists to publish their views? Geyer refused to be put off. Wasn't it true that only one opinion was allowed? That all Cubans had to think as he did? Wasn't it dangerous to have so much power concentrated in the hands of one man? Look what had happened in Russia with Stalin. Castro bobbed and weaved, parrying her attack. "Why should the fact that the immense majority of the Cuban people have acquired a socialist awareness in less than seven years be a concern?" Did not that demonstrate the greatness of the revolution and reaffirm that it was indestructible? He did not deny that he had great power. But his holding that power was never a "philosophical

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